from the Arctic
from the Jensen Arctic Museum
March 31- May 24, 2004
made by the peoples of the Alaskan Arctic region are descended from
an ancient craft, honed for generations on the land. Most objects
traditionally made were useful in very specific ways. A nomadic
people could take little else with them besides the tools of their
daily living. A few of these mobile objects were carved. Such things
as delicate earrings, dance masks, amulets, fetish figures, intricate
combs and labrets are often precious museum pieces today. In recent
decades, they have turned these age-old skills towards producing
larger works whose austere beauty has astonished the art world.
This exhibit features carvings from the Jensen Arctic Museum's collection.
Carvings on display were rendered in ivory, soapstone, serpentine,
wood, and whalebone.
Functional Wood Carvings:
Traditionally, driftwood has been used in wood
carving because few, if any large sources of wood grow in areas
inhabited by arctic people.
Arctic carvers find inspiration in the curving shapes and pitted
textures of the bone, often inlaying the bone with ivory figures.
Artistic Wood Carvings:
Wood is thought to have magical properties. Inuit
carvers have a special relationship with their materials, most
still use small hand tools.
Stone was not used in traditional Arctic Art. Today
artists make sculptures from soapstone, siltstone, argilites,
quartz and marble.
Art - Cribbage Boards:
Creation of cribbage boards was originally aimed
towards trade, often containing Western images to ensure better
Weathered whalebone is found at sites once occupied
by the ancient Thule people. They used whale ribs as roof spars
on their sod homes.
3rd floor gallery
Curator: Keni Sturgeon and Museology Students
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This page was modified
February 26, 2008